Block id is circular-economy-approaches-for-the-electronics-sector-in-nigeria

Circular Economy approaches for the electronics sector in Nigeria


About the Project

Led by the UN Environment Programme and executed locally by the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency of Nigeria (NESREA), the project ‘Circular Economy Approach for the Electronics Sector in Nigeria’ was launched in 2019, with 2 million USD of funding provided by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and more than 13 million USD of co-financing offered by project partners.

The project brings together players from the government, the private sector, and civil society to kickstart a financially self-sustaining circular economy model for electronics in Nigeria, protecting the environment while creating safe employment for thousands of Nigerians. The project supports the Nigerian government in operationalising EPR schemes for electronics and is regarded as the first demonstration project in the electronics sector under the Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy (PACE).


Project status
31 May 2019 - 30 Nov 2022
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Nigeria is witnessing rapid information and communication technology transformation and is importing new, second-hand, and used electrical and electronic equipment. This rising sector is generating an ever-growing amount of electronic waste (e-waste) that is being collected and recycled unproperly and threatens the environment and the lives of informal workers.

The Nigerian government approved the National Environmental Regulations on the Electronics Sector in 2011, defining the principle of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), but many difficulties still exist in practice. Challenges entail limited regulations enforcement, illegal trade of e-waste, the presence and dominance of the informal sector, outdated collection and recycling infrastructure, and insufficient financial schemes to tackle the e-waste issue.


Project Components

The project has the following four components:

►COMPONENT 1. Implementation of EPR system (led by NESREA)

  • Development of roadmap for the EPR implementation
  • Development of the registration system regarding data sources, computation and management of information
  • Estimation of levy for product categories
  • Training of database owner/ maintainer

►COMPONENT 2. Pilot of collection activities (led by NESREA)

  • Identification of optimal collection system through pilot collecting 300 tons of e-waste through various channels
  • Training of e-waste collectors on standards and best practices

►COMPONENT 3. Pilot of recycling activities (led by NESREA)

  • Assessment of recycling centres by recycling the 300 tons collected e-waste in certified recycling facilities in Nigeria
  • Training of e-waste workers

►COMPONENT 4. Circular Economy and global outreach (led by UNEP)

  • Demonstration of best practices and success cases of upstream interventions to increase the circularity of the sector
  • Training on eco-innovation and circular economy in Nigeria
  • Organisation of high-level international event to engage with international stakeholders to implement circular economy in the electronics value chain

Key Project Elements

This project supports the Nigerian government in developing a framework condition to implement a circular economy for electronics by influencing:

  • The policy aspect: by laying the legal basis for EPR enforcement, setting timebound e-waste collection and recycling target for the EPR scheme, scoping and defining financial and physical responsibilities of stakeholders, as well as requirements on monitoring and reporting.
  • The technical aspect: by developing the EPR database software and EPR levy calculation tool, conducting the e-waste collection and recycling pilot to understand the local treatment cost, and providing technical support to the producer responsibility organisation.
  • The collaboration aspect: by systematically sharing knowledge and best practices and creating opportunities for stakeholders along the value chain to collaborate.


Key Achievements to Date

  • Development of the Guidance Document for EPR implementation (2020) with technical support from UNEP and international stakeholders. The Guidance defines the roles and responsibilities of different stakeholders and set up timebound targets for the effective implementation of the EPR scheme in Nigeria. 
  • Amendment of existing National Environment Regulation for EEE (2022). The revised Regulation binds all manufacturers and importers of Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE), e-waste collection centers, and recycling facilities to register with the EPRON, and prohibits the suboptimal treatment of e-waste. 
  • Waste collecting and recycling pilots, in line with the new requirements of the Guidance for EPR implementation, to understand the local treatment cost for different EEE categories covered by the EPR system. 
  • Development of the BlackBox software and establishment of a comprehensive database of producers and importers, for the management of producers' market share data and the calculation of EPR fees for different product categories. 
  • Facilitation of a multi-stakeholder approach that stipulates stronger collaboration among government agencies, producers and importers, recyclers, and waste collectors, based on trust, knowledge sharing, and awareness.

“This project is different and thriving in the context of EPR implementation because it helped build synergy among public and private sector stakeholders. It was the first time we worked together effectively. It was a learning milestone for me.”

Ibukun Faluyi, Executive Secretary of EPRON

  • Improvement of working conditions for informal workers in terms of safety and health and job security, through:
    • Microcredits, entrepreneurships, membership of associations/ cooperatives as well as via formal registration and access to social security. 
    • Distribution of 500 pieces of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to informal collectors.
    • 350 formal and informal collectors received training to improve their awareness and capacities to comply with the EHS requirement 

“The project helped us to expand our business and improve our business practices. Through project trainings, we learned how to identify electronic waste and sort it properly, separate valuable parts safely, all using the personal protective equipment distributed by the project.”

Osawaru Esther Joy, Supervisor at Obanijesu Logistics Collection Company

  • Publication of the Report on Circular Economy for Electronics in Africa which provides an overview of the current state of Circularity in electronics in Africa, identifies key issues, and proposes a roadmap with recommendations for a more circular electronics value chain.

Press Releases and Stories

  • Press Release: Nigeria turns the tide on electronic waste (Click here to read the press release)
  • Web story: Dark skies, bright future: overcoming Nigeria’s e-waste epidemic (Click here to read the web story)
  • Good Practice Brief: Finding Solutions for Electronic Waste with the Private Sector and Multi-Stakeholders Engagement (Click here to read the Brief)


Funding Agency
Global Environment Facility (GEF)

GEF was established on the eve of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit to help tackle our planet’s most pressing environmental problems. Since then, the GEF has provided over $18.1 billion in grants and mobilized an additional $94.2 billion in co-financing for more than 4,500 projects in 170 countries. Today, the GEF is an international partnership of 183 countries, international institutions, civil society organizations and the private sector that addresses global environmental issues.

Implementing Agency
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

UNEP is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.

Executing Agency
National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency of Nigeria (NESREA)

NESREA has the responsibility for the protection and development of the environment, biodiversity conservation and sustainable development of Nigeria's natural resources in general and environmental technology, including coordination and liaison with relevant stakeholders within and outside Nigeria on matters of enforcement of environmental standards, regulations, rules, laws, policies and guidelines.

Key Stakeholder
E-waste Producer Responsibility Organisation Nigeria (EPRON)

EPRON is a non-profit organisation established by electrical and electronic producers in Nigeria. It is the first Producer Responsibility Organisation (PRO) for electronic waste in Nigeria that works with consumers and producers to ensure the safe management of waste electrical and electronic equipment.

3 resources found

Factsheets and brochures

Good Practice Brief: Finding Solutions for Electronic Waste with the Private Sector and Multi-Stakeholders Engagement

June 2021

According to Africa Waste Management Outlook, 125 million tons of municipal solid waste was generated in Africa in 2012, and this amount is expected to double by 2025. Electronic waste (e-waste) is a particularly important and rapidly growing waste stream due to the severe pollution it creates, notably producing mercury, persistent organic pollutants (POPs) from flame retardants, dioxins, and furans. This project connects and operationalizes pre-existing elements of a multi-stakeholder Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) system in Nigeria. EPR is an innovative policy and financial instrument that requires manufacturers, importers, and retailers of electronic products to be physically and financially responsible for the waste management of their products, but which has thus far struggled to get off the ground in developing countries. Collaborating with a private sector-led Producer Responsibility Organization (PRO) on electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) in Nigeria and local and international stakeholders, the project addresses specific gaps identified by each partner, and has developed the Guidance Document for the Implementation of the EPR Programme for the Electrical/Electronics Sector in Nigeria (the Guidance for EPR implementation). The project is helping to design and operate a financially self-sustaining circular economy approach for electronic products in Nigeria.

E-waste collection and recycling is a key source of income for many poor families; however, the informal nature of their operations exacerbates global pollution and toxic health effects. Key lessons learned are connecting and building on existing initiatives to establish a sustainable financing mechanism and management system for e-waste under the Guidance for EPR implementation. At the same time, the project also created opportunities to collaborate with the informal sector, and scaled up efforts to build a circular economy in Nigeria and beyond by collaborating with national and international stakeholders. As a result, the project contributes to reducing global pollution from e-waste, and reducing health impacts on local people in Nigeria. For the long term, the project will contribute to increasing healthy and safer employment in Nigeria, and providing a global model for a circular economy in the electronics sector in developing countries.


Towards a Circular Economy for the Electronics Sector in Africa: Overview, Actions and Recommendations

by |
December 2021

This report provides an overview of the current state of circularity in the electronics value chain in Africa, identifies key areas of concern, provides appropriate recommendations, and proposes priority actions to improve circularity of the sector.The recommendations focus on the individual life cycle stages of the electronics value chain, as well as on aspects that cut across the value chain. The transition towards a more circular electronics sector in Africa would require a holistic, coordinated approach bridging five key areas


From Waste to Wealth: Harnessing the Circular Economy

by |
October 2019
Nigeria is kickstarting a circular economy for electronics, creating safe employment for over 100,000 people. What is your country doing to tackle e-waste?